Insights | By Howard Tiersky

5 Reasons Why You Should Stick Your Neck Out For Digital Transformation

And 3 Risks to Watch Out For

In today’s digital era, the success of organizations will likely be determined by their ability to transform digitally. Many companies need an innovation hero to lead that charge.

Do you want to be the one to “stick your neck out” pushing for large scale digital transformation? 

There are risks involved when leading a dramatic transformation. If things go wrong, could you possibly be fired? Sidelined? Demoted? Disgraced?

Yes! This happens all the time to transformation leaders. 

Let’s look at why leading transformation is risky and then we can take a look at why it might well be worth the risk.

THE RISKS

RESISTANCE

Any major change within an organization usually faces resistance. If you are trying to move the company in a more digital direction, some people may be threatened. 

If another member of your organization feels the changes you are proposing may not be in their personal best interest, they may attempt to sabotage your efforts

If that sabotage is successful, you may find yourself in trouble.

POWER POLITICS 

If you are leading digital transformation, that likely makes you an important player in your organization—you may be given a significant budget, or you may be placed “in the spotlight” possibly by your company’s CEO. 

That sounds good, but you may find that you have colleagues who are on board with the transformation, but feel that you aren’t the right person to be leading it. 

Perhaps some feel that they are better suited to be the one to bring the company into the twenty-first century. 

In this case, you may be undermined. Now you are dealing with power politics. 

This power struggle may become cumbersome, and if you do not handle it correctly, the other person may prove that perhaps you are not the right person for the job, and then they have the opportunity to step into that role.  

What will become of you then?

FAILURE 

Failure is a possibility when you step up into any leadership role, and digital transformation is no exception.

As a leader, your job is to create a vision of the future, and present your plan on how to get there. You will be asking for investments of money and resources to make your vision a reality, and it’s important to remember that success is not guaranteed. 

In fact, most digital transformations will experience setbacks and challenges along the way. 

If your organization’s digital goals are not met, you may end up being the person who is held responsible for that failure even if you have done your job perfectly. 

Or you may make some mistakes which might contribute to those problems along the way. In fact, you probably will if you haven’t led a similar transformation before. 

If the problems are significant, someone may need to take the heat, and it may well be you.

So with all these risks, why the heck would you pursue a role leading a transformation?

Well first of all, these risks won’t necessarily all become reality. In my book Winning Digital Customers: The Antidote to Irrelevance, I provide many strategies to avoid combat these problems. And, perhaps more importantly, there are significant rewards to leading a digital transformation journey. Let’s look at a few.

THE REWARDS

CUSTOMER JOY

Think about how you will feel when your digital transformation pays off. When your customers are raving about your product or service on social media or in online reviews.

It is rewarding to be the person who led that charge, or who had a hand in that transformation. 

Customer joy is a true win-win situation, because it not only makes you feel great as a leader, but it benefits your customers as well.

PRIDE 

Achieving customer joy is a reason to be proud. Another source of pride comes when you accomplish something as challenging as pulling off a successful digital transformation. 

There’s something very special about the feeling you get when you succeed at something that is extremely difficult. Leading a transformation requires figuring out how to inspire others and demands every part of your creativity, intelligence, and political savvy.

That pride of accomplishment is also shared by other members of your team, and as a leader, seeing your team feel good about the work they have done is an additional benefit that will make you feel even more pride. 

In fact, the entire organization can feel proud of accomplishing something challenging. How will it feel for you being a catalyst for those positive feelings experienced by your whole company?

LEARNING

As mentioned before, when you pursue a digital transformation, you are often learning as you go. It’s an excellent professional and personal growth opportunity. Digital is constantly changing, so there is always something new to learn. 

You may learn about new technologies like artificial intelligence, new softwares packages, new customer needs, as well as new things about your company, and how different departments operate. 

Through the transformation process, you might also learn about yourself. An opportunity and challenge like this tends to stretch a leader, and facilitates growth.

JOBS  

Failing to transform digitally usually leads to companies shrinking or going out of business and the consequent loss of jobs.

If you don't step up to lead, and as a result the company fails to keep up, what does that mean for the employees of your company? How many will lose their jobs?

Losing a job doesn't just affect the individual employee, it impacts the entire family and disrupts their lives. 

By taking the leadership reins, you can play a role in helping increase the stability of the lives of perhaps hundreds, thousands or even tens of thousands of people depending on the size of your company.

DESTINY 

What were you put on this Earth to do? I believe that each of us was put here for a reason, and part of life’s purpose is to discover what your purpose truly is. 

You may not know what your purpose is right now, and that’s okay because many people don’t. 

But if your company needs to change and transform, and you feel inspired to help lead, maybe there is a reason you feel that inspiration? 

Maybe it’s a signal about your personal destiny. Maybe it means you need to overcome your fears and step up.

William Shakepeare famously said “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.” 

You may be a person who is having greatness thrust upon you. 

If you think that describes you, and you are choosing to step up to lead a digital transformation, despite the risks and uncertainties, first of all you have my great respect and second of all, I’d love to help.

I’ve written a book (now a WSJ bestseller) called Winning Digital Customers: The Antidote to Irrelevance which can serve as a roadmap for you and provide you tips and techniques drawn from my 25 years helping executives lead transformation. 

You can download the first chapter for free here. Or purchase the entire book here.

Get FREE access to the first chapter of FROM`s
Wall Street Journal Best Selling Book

WINNING DIGITAL CUSTOMERS


  • Learn the three patterns of all successful digital brands (including companies like Apple, Netflix and Uber).
  • Understand why many great new products fail, and the formula for building products that won’t.
  • Discover the key reasons companies resist change and how to overcome them.
Get FREE access to the first chapter of FROM's
Wall Street Journal Best Selling Book

WINNING DIGITAL CUSTOMERS


  • Learn the three patterns of all successful digital brands (including companies like Apple, Netflix and Uber).
  • Understand why many great new products fail, and the formula for building products that won’t.
  • Discover the key reasons companies resist change and how to overcome them.